Whenever I talk about traveling with babies (which is a lot), for the most part I come across like-minded parents who have concerns but love the idea of travel with their young family. Occasionally however, I’m met with a look of horror, or – at the very least – disbelief. The concept of a family vacation does not appeal to them, often for the same reasons. Because I hear and refute these ‘reasons’ now and again, I’ve decided to do it in print once and for all…
• “They won’t remember it…”I’ve never fully understood this reason, since your baby won’t remember anything before the age of two. But just because they won’t remember, doesn’t mean you don’t cuddle and read to and sing to your baby… Plus, who cares if they won’t remember? You’ll never forget that time together as a family, and new place, faces and foods are good for everyone – including baby.
• “They’d be bored/they’d rather be with Grandma…”
This may be true with older kids if you haven’t given them a say in the itinerary, but for the most part, kids want to be with their parents. I know the time will come soon enough when my daughter won’t be able to stand me, so we’re saving the romantic getaways for later. Plus, with our busy life, I’m lucky to see my daughter 3hrs a day, and weekends are always filled with chores and errands. I want to be with her when I’m not working – and fully enjoy this quality family time.
• “It’s not really a vacation…”True – it’s a different type of holiday. You’re up early and have routines to maintain, diapers to change and meals to think about. But the thing is , you have to do all that stuff anyway, you might as well be somewhere nice! Plus, sticking to a routine means you all know what to expect, gives you a basis to plan a few outings, AND, not having household chores means you actually CAN sleep when the baby does.
• “It’s not safe…”If you’re traveling with kids, you’re likely not going to plan a getaway to a war zone. Even if you weren’t taking them with you, I’d hope that as a parent you’d choose a safe destination as well. Even the most accomplished worrywart (me) can do a bit of research to figure out hospitals, health insurance, vaccinations, and preventative measures. If you take the same health and safety precautions that you would at home, there is no risk in traveling with infants and toddlers.
• “If they act up, we’ll bother people…”Kids act up. If you’re so afraid of annoying someone, how do you ever leave the house? You’ve spent good money, you’ve come prepared, and in spite of all your best efforts, if your crying/fussing/whining child bothers someone, there’s really nothing you can do. Just as there’s nothing you can do if a loud/smelly/drunk/offensive person is bothering you. In the long run, the journey is the shortest bit of the big picture, and fortunately the most quickly forgotten.So please, if you love the idea of getting away with your young family, don’t let the naysayers dissuade you. A new parent is under a lot of pressure to begin with, and something like travel gives you the chance to escape together. And repeated travel at a young age creates a great young traveler. At not-quite-three, our daughter knows getting on a plane means going somewhere fun… but most of all means Mummy and Daddy get to stay with her for a whole week, and I love that she loves that the most.
Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel – your online guide to traveling with babies and toddlers. For more information please visit www.havebabywilltravel.com.